Artificial intelligence, or AI for short, is the hottest trend technology in digitization. Eight examples clarify that it has already found a permanent place in our everyday lives in many variants and areas.
Today, AI systems can use data and algorithms to improve operating conditions or predict errors and malfunctions in production processes, the power grid, and logistics. The companies expect more productivity, less downtime. “Artificial intelligence is conquering the factories in a hurry,” said Bitkom President Achim Berg at the start of the Hanover Fair. According to a study by the industry association, every second German company now assumes that machine learning will permanently change current business models.
But not only German industry has discovered the topic for itself: China wants to become a superpower in the AI field by 2030. To this end, the Chinese government has launched funding programs worth billions. Not without reason! According to a McKinsey study, AI alone can increase global gross domestic product by 1.2 percentage points per year by 2030. The additional added value could be up to 13 trillion US dollars.
Lots Of Judgments, Even More Prejudices
So it’s no wonder that everyone is currently talking about AI. Even if most of them don’t know exactly what AI is, each AI defines it differently. There are also many different types of play. Scientists consider artificial intelligence to include automatic image recognition, natural language generation, virtual assistants (chatbots), robot-based process automation (RPA), and machine learning.
The question of where does a (simple) algorithm end (in the sense of a clearly defined sequence of actions: if A, then B), where does natural artificial intelligence begins, can also be debated. For some, AI is the next big thing that the world can develop positively. Others fear machines that are too intelligent and would like to stop this development. In short: there are a lot of judgments and even more prejudices when it comes to AI.
Eight Examples Of Artificial Intelligence In Everyday Life
Looking at it soberly, we already encounter forms of AI in everyday life – and often without us even realizing it or even thinking about it. It supports us with simple tasks; it gives us tips and recommendations, it makes our life easier and more comfortable in many areas. Sometimes it works better, sometimes with room for improvement. I have compiled eight examples from everyday life here. I am consciously not interested in incredible innovations, but in things that are already there. They show that fear of contact about AI is actually out of place.
- Voice assistants
- Smart home
- Streaming music
- Facebook feed and ads
- Language translation
- Image creation / recognition
- Assisted driving
Probably the most widespread form of AI can be found in speech recognition and language assistance. Although Alexa, Siri, Cortana & Co. are still making mistakes, you can quickly see that these AIs are becoming more and more intelligent. Using machine learning, the voice assistants recognize specific patterns in stored data to give ever more precise answers or execute commands. It starts with setting an alarm clock by voice command, continues with information about the weather, TV programs, or the football results of your favorite club, and does not end when you book flights or hotels on demand.
In the smart home, you can use voice control to adjust the lighting conditions and temperatures, have coffee brewed automatically, and close the shutters. But the ‘home’ only becomes smart through another form of artificial intelligence because this AI is constantly learning. As soon as enough data about the residents has been fed, the AI automatically adjusts the temperature or lighting according to preferences.
Many dismissed as a simple algorithm can be described as AI, depending on how broad the term is used. Music suggestions from Spotify & Co. are created because a “weak” AI collects information about the user’s musical tastes (Aha, Ferri likes to hear the Beatles!) And the system learns every day, opens up new patterns, and thus individually tailors them into Playlists designs. So if you next find a new favorite song through the browse or radio function of a streaming app, you can thank the AI who selected this song for you. 😉
Facebook Feed And Ads
Another example of a clever AI algorithm: Through certain clicks, habits, contacts, and other data, Facebook recognizes who is excellent friends with whom. This is why good friends often appear higher up in the news feed or are shown first in the friend’s list in their profile.
But not only Facebook uses AI for user optimization, because in principle, all social media platforms – including LinkedIn, of course – use the potential of intelligent technology. AI also uses the “Like,” “Likes,” or “Following” options to draw conclusions about which posts or advertisements could be of individual interest. Advertising companies use the technology to position products (sports shoes, smartphones, lawnmowers) in a targeted manner – often without the end-user being aware that AI is involved.
Anyone who has recently used Google Translate, DeepL, or similar programs knows: A lot has happened there! While individual words used to be translated incoherently, the new Google Neural Machine Translation (GNMT) first analyzes the entire sentence in seconds before suggesting a translation. Because the words are related to each other, sentences can (essentially) be translated accordingly. For example, phrases or specific expressions that are not the same in both languages are now recognized and processed correctly.
Even those who have not actively used Google Translate have already come into contact with it, for example, by clicking on the “Translate” option under a Facebook post in another language or the message field of many websites. Wikipedia also announced that it would integrate Google Translate at the beginning of the year, which means that the text or excerpts of the text that you have in front of you could have been written or translated by an AI.
Image Creation / Recognition
Capturing image content and properly evaluating it is probably the most mature skill in AI. This can be found in almost every smartphone, for example:
- Adjusting the lighting conditions.
- Automatic focus on a face.
- Triggering the camera when you smile.
- Waving when you want to turn on the timer.
So if you have a smartphone, you may be relying on AI to take pictures. The image creation/recognition refers to the perfect snapshot and can do a lot more, as the following example shows.
The autonomous vehicle on our roads is still a long way off. Still, there are already some functions that make driving much more straightforward: the distance controller, emergency brake assist, automatic traffic sign recognition, and automatic parking aid. Anyone who has a car equipped with one of these systems has an AI on board – after all, the vehicle or the AI must assess the situation correctly. After all, a plastic bag on the street is not a reason for emergency braking, and a round shadow is not always a stone to hit when parking.
When traffic signs – for example, speed limits – are recognized, the AI performs just as well in image recognition as processing. Even at high speeds, these AIs are reliable companions on the streets and may even avoid one or the other parking ticket. 😉
To stay in the traffic area: It is also worth looking at Google Maps and other navigation systems such as Apple’s map function. Real-time information – traffic jams, roadworks, road closures, etc. – are analyzed and interpreted by AI systems to warn of delays or determine the best alternative routes. In the ideal case, the motto is free to travel thanks to AI!
And the development continues steadily: Based on statistical data, AI computers are increasingly able to recognize patterns and thus diagnose diseases that even experienced medical professionals can often not discover so quickly. AI systems are increasingly writing match reports in sports or the business reports of business companies – where fact-based texts are at stake. AI will also develop its potential in the future in the analog hairdressing trade: Schwarzkopf has already developed a scanner that recognizes the hair structure and can therefore recommend personal dyes and shampoos.
AI Systems Are Very Specialized
Everyone has to decide for themselves whether they find these AI aids excellent and useful. Where he wants to use it and where not. But I think the examples show that artificial intelligence is not witchcraft and is still very specialized today. She is good at one topic most of the time, but everyone else is (almost) not at all. And in the long run, no system can be dangerous to humans as an independently acting all-rounder. Most scientists agree on that.
In my opinion, therefore: We should not unnecessarily demonize AI but rather deal with it openly and use the opportunities that this digital technology offers us in everyday professional and private life. Of course, always with a sense of proportion and responsibility – and without completely ignoring the risks. We need clear rules for the use of AI and a shared understanding worldwide that people always remain the most important thing. And we have to look where it creates real added value for us and where it doesn’t.
Responsible Scope Guidelines Are Needed
According to this, AI should always support people and expand their skills instead of restricting them. We also live in practice: In our customer service, for example, we use software robots to support us with routine tasks in the back office, which copy customer data or send customer information automatically – by email or SMS. This relieves our customer advisors and gives them more time for more complex inquiries in face-to-face meetings with customers. Customers and employees alike benefit. This also applies to our digital assistant, an intelligent chatbot that automatically answers frequently asked questions about our products and tariffs via our website or MeinMagenta app around the clock. That is a welcome addition but not a substitute for our flesh and blood employees because people with their experience and empathy make a difference in service!
Let’s all – from America to Europe to China – agree that we have to deal responsibly with the AI issue and that the benefit for people is in the foreground in all developments. We can see the great potential that AI still offers us to use to benefit all of us. As always, the same applies here: proceed with empathy and instinct. Think digitally, steer with compassion. The machine should always serve people; they are and will remain the most important thing.